Main content

Al's top five

Have you ever watched a film with someone who, at the most dramatic moment, argues the plane overhead was yet to be invented and vital detail is missing in the portrayal of a certain character? Al Murray is that man. Having grown up watching war films, Al knows his Dambusters from his Battle of Britains. Here are five of his favourites...

The war film that means the most to me: A Bridge Too Far

"When most war films got watched on the telly on bank holidays, Dad and I actually went to the cinema to see this. It’s such a vast film, made on an epic scale, and it still remains a great film."

My earliest memory of watching a war film: Where Eagles Dare

"With its lurid Technicolor and mismatched stars, complete with a plastered Richard Burton and expressionless Clint Eastwood, is a fantasy adventure, which if you were a little boy growing up in the seventies, filled in for national service. I don’t remember when I first saw it, but I’ve always known it."

Best history lesson: The Dambusters

"This is a fairly unvarnished story of what happened in Operation Chastise, the Dams Raid. Although, some of the detail is missing, and Gibson’s character isn’t entirely revealed – he comes across as driven and serious, rather than the more ruthless person he was. Most importantly, it doesn’t spare us the loss, and, even though it was made only a decade or so after the events, it hangs a great question mark over whether the bombing campaign was worth it."

Worst history lesson: The Battle of the Bulge

"This film is horrible. Germans talking in English one minute and German the next, driving around in post-war American tank types, trampling all over the story of what happened in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944. Yuck."

For someone who has never watched a war film: Went the Day Well

"You could do a lot worse than watch this wartime Cavalcanti movie about an English village that finds itself invaded by Germans disguised as British troops. It’s stark, horrifying, violent, and features Thora Hird with a 303 rifle."